Is this ADHD or did I marry a manipulative con artist?

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    • #104231

      I am feeling like a complete monster for beginning to look at my husband as a possible criminal personality instead of being the supportive wife that should be more understanding and supportive to him. I feel possibly gaslighted and so used up, conned and taken advantage of that I don’t know if this is how most people feel with an ADHD spouse, or if I am actually being conned by a master manipulator. And I feel guilty and horrible for even thinking these things about my spouse.

      Could someone please tell me if the types of things that my husband is doing, are typical of ADHD symptoms?

      My husband(in his late 30s) and I have been married for over nine years. After the first year I realized that something was seriously wrong, and he finally admitted to me that he was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 13 but he didn’t think the doctors knew what they were talking about. So it went ignored. It wasn’t until a couple of months ago, that I just couldn’t take his constant emergencies and destruction anymore and I began to talk to him about divorce. Now that divorce has been brought up, NOW he says he thinks he agrees with the past doctors ADHD diagnosis. And he got a doctor’s appointment a couple of weeks ago and they scheduled him for testing in January. So we wait. I want to be supportive and planned to be, but he is getting worse and his behavior, to me, feels criminal. I started to see a therapist at the beginning of this year but then he changed jobs again and the therapy was no longer covered. At my last session a few months ago, my therapist told me I was in an abusive relationship. But we didn’t discuss the possibility of ADHD because my husband blew that diagnosis off. So I am very confused. I thought I had married an honest, kind, smart, funny person, but I don’t see that person very often anymore. Most of the time I am sitting in the same room with a man that is angry at the world and doesn’t even notice when I speak. He says it’s his job and he will be happier when he moves to a new employer next week. But this is the 14th “horrible job” excuse in 9 years. These are the behaviors that I am questioning:

      -He will not pay debts. Not until he has gotten warning letters for 1-2 years and then finally gets a notice to appear in court.

      – That happened so often, that I now pay all bills and grab all the mail. BUT, he won’t even give me 5 minutes once a month to go over our bills and budget, it’s like he thinks I am his personal servant and how dare I bother him with such nonsense. I’t’s his money too. He makes more than me.

      -He doesn’t think legal contracts and agreements apply to him. He seems to think that he can just get exceptions and favors to change things to suit him. This feels to me like a con artist who thinks they can just charm and manipulate their way out of lease agreements, loans, car rental terms, etc. All of which he has done. When I point out the seriousness of this, he rages at me for bringing it up. Yet he still continues through life operating this way.

      – He has a child from before me and his ex had to call him weekly and scream at him to pay the weekly child support check. And every time, the next week, he would not do it again, week after week for an entire year until I took it over. He raged about that weekly and broke several phones by throwing them across the room when she called.

      -His personality changes according to who he is around. I can only trust him as far as I can trust whoever his is with. I never know what personality is going to walk in the door each night. Isn’t this what sociopaths do?

      -He lies daily and omits truths and when I tell him how this makes me not trust him, he rages at me. I had no idea that half the stuff he told me when we were dating and getting to know each other, was actually completely made up! It was harmless stuff, but still. He says he does this to make him self look better to me because he cares about what I think of him. But I thought he was an honest, kind person. And instead I’m getting lied to daily?

      -If money is tight due to one of his latest disasters, and I rearrange our bills and budget to fix it, he then goes and undoes all of my work by immediately running out and buying something for over $100 and then tries to conceal it from me. He’s done this half a dozen times. It feels like pure defiance to me.

      -He was physically and mentally abused by his parents as a child. His entire family scams people, files fraudulent lawsuits and they are very mean, angry, cruel people and stab each other in the back. So WHY does he talk on the phone to them multiple times a day? I am starting to think that means he may be just like them. He says its because he believes family is important. Fine, so call them once a week. But he calls them daily and it sours his mood two minutes into the conversations.

      -We have debts in collections going back from five years ago. I keep taking on second jobs to pay them off and every single time, he then quits his job and sits in front of the tv all day. Once, I even worked 3 jobs at once, and had 10 minutes to pop in at home to grab food before my next job and he sat there doing nothing. I’ve had to wipe up crumbs and put his dirty dishes in the dishwasher and pick up at midnight sometimes after my second job while he sat all night. Is this typical??

      -The ONLY thing he will do is go to his job. Then he sits the rest of every night and weekend. He NEVER empties a full trash can, cleans, picks up, empties the dishwasher, puts laundry away, goes to the grocery store, cooks, etc. Just sits. Like I owe him. He apologizes when I break down each week and then he will empty the dishwasher or trash that minute and then never do another thing again until I blow up again. I don’t blow until I have asked dozens of times first.

      -He refuses to use any type of calendar or planner system. Instead, he expects everyone that knows him to remind him of times and dates. We have gone to the store multiple times over the years and he has picked some planners out, uses them for a day and then calls them stupid as if he is angry at me and just did it to shut me up.

      I don’t know. Is all of that typical symptoms of ADHD or is my husband just a real jerk and a con artist? I’m left feeling like I need to run fast and far away from an abuser one minute, and the next, I feel bad for him and think maybe it is ADHD and once he gets rediagnosed and on meds in January, that we can work through solutions to help him.

    • #104243

      Financial abuse is part of Domestic Violence. Contact Domestic Violence hotline number in order to make a plan to leave this relationship safely. Your spouse is an emotional terrorist. Knowledge of his multiple diagnosis and medication isn’t quick fix and change would require commitment to therapy and mental health for a lifetime. Your first responsibility is to yourself, so focus on self-protection. You are not qualified or under contract to fix him. Domestic Violence has resources for you to get a pro-bono divorce and legal advice that includes orders of protection and restraining orders, shelters and housing, child support issues, therapists and mental health resources regarding survivors. NAMI – National Alliance for Mental Health has a hotline and your community may have an information and referral service for community supports. Unpaid child support for a period of 120 days is considered a felony. Judges may require a job search, wage garnishment, visitation schedules, tax intercept, vehicle and property leins,and jail time. A good therapist should have provided you with the basic resource of the National Domestic Violence Hotline at the same time as telling you about the relationship. Doing damage control and putting out fires is exhausting. The first step should be finding reasons why you accept this behavior into your life. Childhood Abuse has traumatic effects to brain development that can be similar to ADHD. Government studies in support of this can be found on the internet. Invest all your energy and focus on yourself with professional help so you can learn what got you into this situation and protect yourself from victimisation again. When people show you who they are, believe them. As far as his family, the saying “you are who you know” applies to his family. You’ve already made a great start by attending therapy and doing research. This is way bigger than you, it gets worse, it happens to people from all aspects of society. You can survive and thrive.

    • #104249

      Please, please, please get away from this person as soon as you can, before this escalates into violence and injury.
      Your husband may be suffering from his past as well as ADHD, but this does not excuse his abusive behaviour toward you.

      You cannot fix this person and it is not your job to try. 1Christine is right, you need to self preserve and do all you can to get yourself out of this situation.

      As a person who put up with abuse similar in nature to yours (I have since had counselling to work out why I let another person get away with so much, for so long), I finally left and life is so much better now. In hindsight, I should have stepped away from it all years ago.

      Some of the reasons I stayed so long are:
      We were on one perpetual roller coaster of falling out then making up (when things were good they were very good), but he controlled everything in our lives and he chose when to give affection and withhold it
      I loved him
      I never felt like a victim as I would answer him back. For years I was in denial and just thought of him as a difficult person
      I didn’t want to break up my family (thankfully, my child was kept out of the abuse)
      I felt if I didn’t stay he would have no-one. He had no friends and kept family at arms length
      He had moved us away from family and I hardly saw them. I was ashamed to tell my mum about what went on
      I depended on him for money
      I had few friends. He hated them all and let them know it. Bad moods, uncomfortable atmosphere, ignoring people, dominating conversation and not allowing others to have an opinion. So people stopped coming around
      I started to believe that it was mostly my fault (something he kept saying to me)
      My self esteem was low
      I had lost my confidence
      Does any of this sound familiar?

      What made me leave?
      Well, I was putting up with so much emotional abuse but physical violence was the last straw.
      Strike one: A woman bumped into him by accident one day and he shoved her back so hard while screaming “You’re in my way, you stupid B****.” My child saw it.
      Strike 2: While arguing he suddenly punched the closet door in temper, inches from my head. Seconds later he denied he had done this and then wanted to take our child to the park. I scooped my child up and fled.
      Strike 3: He smacked our child. You’re out!

      Please recognise the emotional abuse for what it is and stop making excuses like I did. Get your ducks in a row then leave.

      It’s 2 years since I left and life is good. Me and my child are much happier now. Thinking the abuse was having no effect on my child was blinkered thinking.
      I have set personal goals and I am achieving more than I ever did when I was married. I’m putting myself through university, I’m volunteering, I have a great part-time job. My stress levels are low. My child is happy and thriving. I have friends and family around me again. I’m learning how to be independent. I got help for all the things I find difficult and life is easier. I’m still a work in progress and I’m not ready to date yet, but I’m open to it.
      I have changed every aspect of my life for the better and my confidence and self esteem are better than they have ever been.

      In hindsight, I think I was easily abused because I have ADD.
      I let someone else take control, I trusted him and that was wrong
      He took advantage of my empathy, confusion, slow processing, poor executive skills and forgetfulness. He saw that I was an emotive person and he pounced.

      Please take the first step and read as much as you can on coercive control, narcissistic and sociopathic/psychopathic personalities. Then you will realise you are not crazy but have been carefully chosen by your husband because people like him choose certain personalities because they can easily be controlled.

      Then read up about how you can get away from him.

      I hope this helps you out. Just know you are not alone and help is out there for you. You can get out of this terrible situation and you will move on to a happier life. The life you really do deserve.

    • #104252

      I’m currently married to a man with ADHD and working on my PTSD from dating a sociopath (who turned out to be a serial rapist). Some of what you describe are symptoms of ADHD, some are symptoms of Antisocial Personality Disorder (the technical term for sociopaths), and some are symptoms of both. I think the only way to tell which it is would be how the symptoms change with medication.

      However, that question seems irrelevant to me. I know how hard it is to struggle with the question, “Is my partner struggling with a disorder I should be understanding of or is he actually a malicious a**hole who doesn’t give a d*mn about me?” But the more important question I try to focus on is this: “What is ‘the line’?” IOW, how long are you willing/able to tolerate the intolerable situation you described? When will you know you’ve had enough, done enough, or sacrificed enough?

      The other two who responded also brought up an extremely important point about safety. Neither my husband nor my ex demonstrate the anger you describe (my ex was the kind of rapist who gets women drunk until they pass out, rather than attacking them). I think even if you aren’t feeling unsafe it’s best for you to make a plan: what is “too far” with his anger and what will you do if he crosses that line?

      I also think it’s really important for you to talk to a lawyer about your finances. The consequences of your husband’s financial irresponsibility needs to land squarely on HIS shoulders and not effect you. I can’t imagine how hard it will become to separate his debt from yours, but it’s incredibly important that you make sure you’re able to support yourself while he’s being affected by the consequences of his irresponsibility. I highly recommend you look into this ASAP.

      You’re working your a** off and its completely unsustainable. It’s not right for you to suffer because your husband is not getting treated for whatever he has. No one could keep doing what you’re doing. Please look out for yourself! You deserve the same kind of compassion you’re giving to your husband, yet he’s failing to give you!

    • #104301

      I was married for 27 years and had to leave when the emotional abuse became intolerable. It has now been 10 years. I am sad that the marriage that was gooed had to end, but I have no regrets. When I see how dysfunctional he is, I’m appalled that it took me so long to see it. We both have ADHD, diagnosed when our sone was diagnosed. For me, it was the extreme emotional reactions and manipulativeness. GET OUT! You deserve better even if you have to be alone.

    • #104471

      You all took so much time and thought to provide such helpful, insightful and heartfelt responses that I am overwhelmed with gratitude. This was a very long 4 day holiday weekend to spend with an angry spouse but as each of your posts came into my email, it provided me with strength, hope and many thoughts to consider. After reading each of your posts, my thinking felt clearer and I didn’t feel so confused. Things are making more sense when I consider all of your comments. I see now what you mean when I ask myself “ADHD or no ADHD, regardless of my spouses personal issues, why am I allowing myself to be treated poorly and used. And why do I think his needs are so much more important than my own, to the extent that I am being depleted”? Good questions that I have been thinking about now.

      I have been helping him so much, and walking on eggshells so much, that you are all so right… this IS abuse. How did I not see it? He keeps portraying himself as helpless and stating that he needs me to help him with all this, while he sits in front of the tv and I am running ragged. I realized that I had even changed my career path in order to be constantly available for him. So, with this realization, I started looking at new jobs this weekend, that would pay more and get me out of this financial hole, and I got excited when I found one tailored to my resume. I told him about it and he told me 50 reasons why it was a dumb idea that wouldn’t work. All I heard when he did that, was the post comments that you all had typed. I SAW the abuse right then and there. All of his reasons, were things that pertained to how a new job would affect him. Not a word about how it would be better for me, or our finances. I don’t think I would have seen this as abusive last week, prior to all of your input.

      You all also helped me to lessen the immense daily guilt that I felt. You are right, I am not the person responsible or qualified to fix him. I can help, but only to the extent that it doesn’t take over my own life and my own needs. Thank you, I feel like I got permission to take care of myself. And the fact that I needed to hear that, and get permission in order to not feel guilty,is something else I need to look further into. But in the short term, hearing all of you saying it, has given me immense peace and has alleviated so much pain that I felt daily. I feel excited to think about how I can protect myself from his issues and begin to set up my own life. He will either improve by getting his own help or not. But I realize that I have been practically a prisoner, and I need to stop that right now. I can’t thank you enough for all of your points of view, I don’t feel so constantly confused anymore. Thank you.

    • #104746
      E. pollar

      I read the responses and agreed with all of them 100%. This IS abuse.
      I really feel for you as it seems that your caring and understanding nature has been taken advantage of,
      but what you are describing goes beyond the normal realms of the up’s and down’s in a married couples relationship.

      What was really heartening was when you responded to your replies and I saw a glimmer of hope as you begin to realise that your marriage is a lie and that putting up with all his bad behaviour has become the norm. So here are my words of wisdom as someone who lived with a financial and emotional abuser for 20 years:

        Try to separate yourself from your husband

      . You are not him and he is not you. You are a wonderful person with your own strong identity, although you have probably lost sight of this because he insists life is all about him. Between gaslighting you, stonewalling you, financially abusing you and using coercive control, you are probably physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted from life with your abusive husband and have lost your ability to step away from the situation and see just how damaging it has become.

        Be kind to yourself

      – one of the best pieces of advice I was given was to be as kind to yourself as you are to others. So make this your No1 priority. Take time out, prioritise yourself, spend the money where you think you will gain the most from it. For me it was seeing a therapist weekly for 6 months. I paid for it myself but saw it as vital support.

        Involve others

      – your husband sounds just like mine was – he thought he was above the law and the rules didn’t apply to him.
      This makes for a very dangerous enemy. My husband was so furious that I dared to leave him that he spent almost 2 years trying to totally annihilate me and my children. He falsified legal documents and got rid of or hid assets, telling one bare lie after the other. He tried to make out that I was a terrible mother and accused me of all kinds of horrendous things, but this backfired when I calmly pointed out that if I was such a bad person, why did he leave me alone with the children all those times, for so many years? How come no one else thought the same way as him?
      It was frightening how this man would stop at nothing. There was no line he would not cross.
      Luckily, I had recorded some of the abuse on video and kept all texts and emails that contained his vile attacks.
      So involve as many people as you can – get your family and trusted friends to back you up, because he will come for you, and make sure you only talk through emails, or get an appointed mediator/Lawyer/Solicitor to deal with him. That way you won’t be the only person who sees just how horrible your husband can be and as you said, he does not play by the rules anyway.
      Normally when you are the victim of domestic abuse you should not be asked to deal with your abuser directly, for your own protection, cause you know he is not going to fight fair.

        Try to slowly shift your perspective

      – little by little – baby steps. Focus your energy from thinking “what did I do to deserve this treatment and how can I fix it?” to “How dare he treat me this way. I do not deserve this and I have to distance myself from this man and put measures in place to protect myself.”
      I got really angry once I woke up to the fact that I was being abused. I never felt like a victim or thought that something like this could happen to someone like me (I am an educated, strong, moral woman). But abuse knows no social or economical boundaries and people from all walks of life can easily find themselves at the mercy of an abuser. So don’t go beating yourself up about it. Turn your feelings of guilt, injustice and regret into something constructive and do all you can to move on and up in your life.

      It’s a big life lesson to learn that you cant fix him, you cant change him and you cant stop him messing up his life.
      However, you can fix you, you can change you and you can stop him messing up your life.

      I know you can do it, op. You are stronger than you think. You have put up with so much without breaking, so there must be a very strong, resilient person inside you. It’s time to put yourself first. Good luck x

    • #104751

      It sounds like you’re living with someone who has never had to do anything on his own and never had to take responsibility for his actions. As a male who has ADHD, I can’t manipulate shit. I take care of all of our bills because my wife is a manager of print and mail operations of an insurance company. She’s got a lot on her plate and it’s easier to just take care of it so she doesn’t have too. If there is a history of manipulation in his family, he’s probably not too far from it. This alone is concerning to me as you ultimately will end up with a stay at home slob who won’t even clean up or cook because he’s busy looking for new jobs.

      I used to lie about dumb shit, but lying has consequences and I got tired of trying to keep up. My life has been very simple since I’ve started being truthful. I lied about buying shit when we were broke, or omitting where money was going at times without talking to my wife about it.

      I’d highly suggest getting out of this relationship as it seems he’s just a good ole’ piece of shit, not ADHD. He likely can’t manipulate anyone at the jobs he’s getting, so he’s acting like a toddler who isn’t getting his way and just leaving. Or he’s getting fired for trying to manipulate things and getting caught. At some point, he will be completely jobless and still, nothing will change.

    • #106600

      Many of these traits are not consistent with ADHD. Yes, we have trouble being organized and paying attention and all that. But an individual with Just ADHD still maintains a sense of responsibility and obligation. I’ll tell you what: I have ADHD and my credit score is over 800. I’ve never been evicted. I’ve never been named in a lawsuit. And nobody I’ve dated complained of a pattern of abuse by me even after the relationship was over. (Though they had other legitimate complaints. :))

      Also, the bottom line is, you’re miserable in this relationship. I don’t care what he has, your life is suffering because you’re with him. Leave, for your safety. You deserve better.

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